Salt Lake City, Utah — After announcing a popular giraffe has died, Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo is mourning the loss of a family member on Christmas Eve.
An 18-year-old reticulated giraffe, Riley, was a senior member of the zoo’s giraffes but had been suffering from some “age-related challenges” over the past few months.
Zoo staff noticed that Riley was unable to stand on his own, On Thursday.
Even with the help of the Salt Lake City Fire Department and Wagstaff Crane Service, zoo staff was unable to get Riley to stand on his own.
“Hogle Zoo staff, and our partners who showed up immediately to assist with this giraffe emergency, did everything possible to help Riley but his condition was too advanced,” said Dr. Erika Crook, Director of Animal Health.
According to officials, Riley’s condition worsened as the day went on, and he died hours later.
“Riley was truly a giant; without a doubt, the first animal to stand out amongst others as guests first enter the zoo. He touched the hearts of many as a tall and dignified ambassador especially during our giraffe feeds,” said Associate Director of Animal Care, Bob Cisneros.
In June 2005, Riley arrived at the zoo and sired six giraffe calves.